130131 AusAID Triple jeopardy working paper

Triple Jeopardy: Gender-based violence and human rights violations experienced by women with disabilities in Cambodia

Jill Astbury and Fareen Walji

AusAID Research Working Paper 1, January 2013

Cambodian women with disabilities experience multiple disadvantages resulting from the interplay between gender, disability and poverty. This participatory research project, developed collaboratively between Australian and Cambodian partners, investigated prevalence and experiences of gender-based violence of women with disabilities in comparison to women without disabilities; assessed the extent to which existing policies and programs include or address women with disabilities; and explored how women with disabilities are supported or denied access to existing programs.

The study found that women with disabilities and women without disabilities faced similar levels of sexual, physical and emotional violence by partners. However, the picture that emerged in terms of family violence (excluding partners) was starkly different. Women with disabilities experienced much higher levels of all forms of this violence. They were much more likely to be insulted, made to feel bad about themselves, belittled, intimidated, and subjected to physical and sexual violence than their non-disabled peers.

These results, building on scarce developing country evidence, speak to the unique vulnerabilities of women with disabilities to violence. There is an urgent need for mainstream services to ensure that women with disabilities can access their services, and for services for people with disabilities that address gender concerns. Similarly, it is critical that discriminatory attitudes which condone and perpetuate violence against women with disabilities are challenged and transformed.